September 8, 2011, Lincoln, Nebraska: LI-COR Biosciences has entered into a licensing agreement with The Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD) for compounds and imaging methods targeting prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) developed in the laboratory of Dr. Martin Pomper. As an enzyme with an extracellular active site, PSMA represents an excellent target for imaging and therapy directed toward solid tumor neovasculature in addition to prostate cancer itself.
LI-COR plans to manufacture a low molecular weight PSMA-based molecular imaging agent, YC-27, labeled with their proprietary infrared dyes as molecular imaging probes for research purposes. The low molecular weight PSMA-based near-infrared imaging agent IRDye 800CW YC-27 was first published by Chen et al. in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications in 2009. They concluded that YC-27 was promising for clinical investigation of PSMA-expressing tissue because of its salutary pharmacokinetics in vivo. [Biochem Biophys Res Commun 390: 624 (2009)]
"We are delighted to be able to license Dr. Pomper's invention from The Johns Hopkins University to provide the research community with a very effective probe for imaging prostate cancer," says Michael Olive, vice president, Translational Research at LI-COR.